Hafu | Half Japanese

Hafu is a word used in Japan in regards to someone that is of mixed race: half Japanese and half other ethnicity. The word has become widely accepted and is frequently adopted and used by those it refers to.

Having roots in two (often very) different cultures can sometimes cause a sense of uncertainty as to one’s identity and even to one’s place in society. Of course, a Hafu actually has two cultures and will find their own identity from these cultures, from their upbringing and to an extent from their physical appearance.

With Japanese society being highly conservative, those of mixed race – particularly those with non Japanese physical features – have sometimes found it difficult to “fit in” and felt somewhat an outsider.

This is perhaps partly why the word Hafu has been so embraced: although it has been and sometimes still is used offensively it has been reclaimed and is now an accepted term.

Hafu you may know:
Angela Aki: singer/songwriter.
Devon Aoki: model and actress.
Beni Arashiro: singer/songwriter, actress and model.
Tadanobu Asano: actor, director and musician.
Ann Curry: television news presenter.
Reika Hashimoto: actress and model.
Hiromi Hayakawa: singer.
Minami Hinase: actress and model.
Masayoshi “Mabo” Kabe: musician.
Takeshi Kaneshiro: actor and singer.
Chieko Kawabe: actress, model, radio host and singer.
Kaela Kimura: model, singer/songwriter and television presenter.
Meisa Kuroki: actress, model and singer.
Sean Lennon: singer/songwriter, musician and actor.
Koji Murofushi: Olympic hammer throwing champion 2004.
Megumi Nakajima: singer and seiyu (vocal actor).
Keisuke Ogihara: rapper.
Masumi Okada: actor, comedian, MC, movie producer and singer.
Koji Ota: baseball star and commentator.
Mike Shinoda: rapper, musician and artist.
Yuu Shirota: actor and singer.
Marcus Tulio Tanaka: football (soccer) player.
Anna Tsuchiya: singer/songwriter, actress and model.
Anna Umemiya: television personality and model.
Emi Watanabe: national champion figure skater.
Linda Yamamoto: singer and model.

What does being Hafu mean to you, and how do you think it has influenced your life? Please share your thoughts with us and leave a comment.

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